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Juridiskie pakalpojumi


The legal proceedings in the trademark dispute between Air Baltic Corporation and SIA Baltic Taxi have been concluded

The Senate has refused to reopen cassation proceedings in the nearly eight-year-long dispute over the trademarks Baltic Taxi, and consequently the judgement of the Riga Regional Court of 24 May 2023 has entered into force.

The court upheld Air Baltic Corporation’s action against SIA Baltic Taxi for the invalidation of the trademark registrations, prohibition of use and compensation for material damage. The case was re-examined on appeal in accordance with the judgment of the Senate of 19 December 2022, raising several points of law which, in the view of the Senate, had not been sufficiently analysed and reasoned in the first judgment of the appellate court.

The Senate noted the need to assess the existence of the trademark family at the time of registration of the contested trademarks, how the trademarks were compared and to establish the likelihood of confusion. The appellate court confirmed that there were grounds to establish the existence of a trademark family prior to the applications for registration of the contested trademarks and, moreover, the existence of a trademark family which was well-known in Latvia. The court found that the contested trademarks were designed in such a way that consumers would associate them with the plaintiff’s trademarks and that the contested trademark registrations should be declared invalid based on the provisions of law on the protection of well-known trademarks.

The court also found that there were other grounds for invalidating the registrations of the contested trademarks, namely bad faith on the part of the applicant in registering in its own name the trademark developed by the plaintiff as well as the plaintiff’s corporate colours.

In its judgment, the appellate court also assessed whether the action was not time-barred. It is important to note that the statutory limitation period of three years applies only to an action for infringement of a trademark and not to an action for invalidation of a trademark registration. The court, having assessed the facts of the case, concluded that it could not be established that the action was brought more than three years after the plaintiff knew or ought to have known of the trademark infringement. The court noted that the proprietor of a trademark may bring an action against any person who unlawfully uses its trademarks, i.e. for any infringement of the trademark.

Finally, the court also assessed the defendant’s fault in the infringement of the trademarks, in accordance with the Senate’s observations. It should be noted that the issue of fault is rarely addressed in trademark judgments, which are usually limited to a finding of infringement, i.e. unlawful use of the trademark. In the present case, the court, referring both to the entries in the commercial register and to a judgment in force in another civil case, found the defendant guilty of infringement, stating that the circumstances of the case showed that the defendant had acted deliberately, which qualified as recklessness and negligence of the highest degree.

March 20, 2024 by Brigita Tērauda, Partner

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